In a situation the movie’s characters would probably describe by referencing the evacuation of Hoth Base, or running from the big boulder in Raiders Of The Last Ark, or maybe just some random Monty Python dialogue, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One has ducked out of directly competing against Star Wars: Episode VIII. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s popular checklist of pop-culture memes masquerading as a novel about a scavenger hunt for control of a futuristic, internet-dependent dystopia, Spielberg’s film will move back from its original December 15, 2017 release date to April of the following year.
The coast was originally clear for Ready Player One to cash in on America’s rich vein of latent Wargames and Tomb Of Horrors nostalgia during the 2017 holiday season, but the recent shifting of Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII to that same date necessitated the move. (Presumably, nobody wanted to try a Sisters-esque “You can see our movie, too!” campaign for Spielberg’s film.)
Given that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now the third-highest grossing movie of all time (after the one-two punch of James Cameron’s Titanic and Avatar), it’s hard to fault Spielberg—normally a box-office force in his own right—from dropping back to the currently unoccupied Easter 2018. We can only hope that Johnson and Lucasfilm don’t get too addicted to the sensation of pushing around one of Hollywood’s most powerful men, though, and start jumping Episode VIII around even more in some kind of elaborate spree of box-office bullying.